Finding things to do in Rotorua is not difficult once you are there, but knowing which Rotorua attractions to go and see can make for daunting planning. Do I head for the geothermal mud pools, or do I embrace the adventure of a zorbing activity? I have collated all of the best things to do in Rotorua for you in this post.
Cycle Or Hike Amongst Giant Redwoods In Whakarewarewa Forest
A huge scenic woods packed with giant redwoods as far as the eye can see, Whakarewarewa Forest is great for cyclists, joggers and hikers alike. I chose to see the forest in the saddle, and rented a bike easily from MTB Rotorua. They were great with me, so I can definitely recommend them!
So one Saturday in February we came down to “RotoVegas” and started at Whakarewarewa Forest, which is full of huge redwoods, mountain bikers, joggers and trampers. We decided to grab some mountain bikes for a couple of hours and see the forest that way. MTB Rotorua are the go to company for mountain bikes in Rotorua.
There are several marked tracks through these amazing woods for you to follow, and I recommend starting with “The Dipper”, a beginners course with some small dips to have fun with. The courses go on to be much tougher but The Dipper was plenty for me!
Dive Into Naturally Warm Kerosene Creek
A few short minutes driving from Rotorua gets you to Kerosene Creek, where the sounds and smells of the dense forest meet a natural hot spring waterfall. Here, the warm inviting waters are said to have nutrients in that are excellent for your health. Make sure you take swimming gear and towels, as this hidden beauty is unmanned with no changing areas or staff. This also means it’s free! Get your hair wet under the waterfall itself or just relax in the warm natural spring, reconnect with nature!
See Bubbling Mud Pools
Sticking with the theme of hot liquid from geothermal activity, Rotorua is famous for it’s bubbling pools of mud. I recommend visiting Kuirau Park, which features free parking and not many tourists! Kuirau is free for anyone to walk around and has various spots of fenced off shrubbery with bubbling mud in the middle. You can also spot wildlife here such as the native pukeko, cute!
Most visitors seem keen to flock to Te Puia, which is a paid for attraction that displays similar activity as the free to attend Kuirau Park. The only difference really is Te Puia has a geyser that shoots water into the air once per day. If you’re set on seeing that, check out Te Puia.
It’s also worthy to note that there is a hot springs mud spa called Hell’s Gate nearby, for those that want the luxury experience.
Go Dirt Biking With Amazing Views
Few places are better equipped for dirt biking than Rotorua. Step up, Pure Dirt Tours, a local specialist dirt bike business set on over 700 acres of farmland with fantastic views along the way. I spent an hour on the bike on some amazing tracks, even managing to crash once, but had a great time!
Stay In Your Own Hideaway Lodge
Nestled in the perfect location between Ngongotaha Road and Lake Rotorua, Rotorua Hideaway Lodge is a set of 10 lodges tucked away just close enough to be on the doorstep of everywhere, but far enough away to remain completely at peace. I fell in love as soon as I walked through the door, your lodge even has it’s own toasty log burner! The owners are delightful too, which makes the stay all the better. Make sure you choose Rotorua Hideaway Lodge when deciding what to do in Rotorua!
Go zorbing on the worlds best track
Still one of best activities I have ever done, and by default then one of the best activities in Rotorua, is ball rolling. OGO Rotorua have the world’s largest ball rolling site, and it is the one unmissable experience in Rotorua!
The owners created Zorb the business, but later sold it for various reasons. They decided they could better their efforts by having larger and smoother balls for people to roll in, therefore making them faster and the experience even more fun for you and me!
I went down once on the side by side straight track where you can race a friend down a steep hill, and once on the zig zagging track that sends you flying all over the shop, which sent me into fits of giggles! The balls are filled with warm water, so make sure you take wet clothes! There’s a handy hot tub at the bottom for if you’re cold when you get out, too.
Try Extreme Activities At Agroventures
Just down the road from OGO is Agroventures, an adventure park with a variety of different extreme activities to partake in! They have the Swoop, which is like a bungy but you swing instead of bounce. They load you into a sleeping bag too, so it’s arguably more comfortable than a bungy, but equally exhilarating! They also offer a 43 metre straight bungee called Bounce for those that prefer the traditional route! Then they have the Shweeb, which is an upside down bicycle that you race around a monorail track. It’s pretty good fun, but it burns your thighs if you really go for it!
One of the fastest paced things to do in Rotorua is up next, the Agrojet. This small but powerful jet boat is driven around a 1km track on site, and the power is unbelievable, with cornering like nothing I have ever seen. Very impressive! Finally there is Freefall Xtreme, which is a where you practice your skydiving technique on a vertical wind tunnel, I came off a few times on this one, but again it’s a great laugh.
Experience real Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Village
No visit to Rotorua is complete without soaking up some traditional Maori culture. That’s exactly what you will get at Tamaki Maori Village, where you will be taken on a journey through time in a fantastic spectacle of an evening.
You are picked up by coach from where you are staying, taken to the village and the fun begins. Your informative host guides you through a forgotten a world as real life Maori’s interact with you showing you how they make tools, display their strength and live day to day. One of the exhibitions features a “hangi”, which is a traditional Maori cooking method using a hole in the ground. You are treated to your meal at the end of the trip with food cooked in that very hangi! Don’t expect to sit back and just watch though, this immersive journey involves you testing your skills throughout!
Ultimately, Rotorua has something for everyone and will leave an indefinite mark on you. Enjoy your trip!